Reese’s Candy-Filled Drip Cake

"Be prepared; you'll be trying to create your first new thing and just go, 'whaaat the....?'

Abraham Hernandez, Zumba Education SpecialistAnyone else struggle with creativity sometimes? Like, having a vague idea of the end goal you're shooting for and just not knowing the steps to take to get there? I got an order not long ago for a Reese's chocolate/peanut butter cake for a co-worker's husband, and so my end goal was decided, but the final decisions for the decorations turned out to be a much slower process. Turns out, the same process that worked when first learning how to choreograph new songs for my Zumba class work for this cake - 1) just start somewhere, and 2) pull inspiration from other sources, but without copying them 100%.I've done a few drip cakes before, so that part was easy enough - my other two inspirations were a candy-topped cake from chelsweets.com, and a cake from the Scran Line on Instagram. Annnd boom! Cake was done, and I love the way it turned out.  🙂  Recipe below! 🙂
Cake: My current favorite chocolate cake recipe from How to Cake It with Yolanda Gamp is below - although two boxed cake mixes (I doctor mine up by replacing oil with butter, water with milk and vanilla extract, and adding an extra egg) will do as well in a pinch  🙂2  2/3 all purpose flour 2 t baking powder 1 1/2 t baking soda 1 t salt 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature 2 1/2 cups sugar 4 eggs, room temperaturePreheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, or spray thoroughly with baker's cooking spray with flour. Put the cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring 3 cups water to a boil, then carefully measure exactly 2 cups and pour over the cocoa powder and whisk until completely smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add the eggs, two at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula when necessary. Add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the warm cocoa mixture in three parts, beating just until each addition is incorporated before adding the next; do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing cakes from pans; then set aside on cooling racks to cool completely. Set in the fridge to accelerate the cooling process if desired.If desired, use a glass or medium-sized biscuit cutter to remove center from two of the three cake layers.Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting: 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened 8 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened 1 C Peanut butter 7-8 c powdered sugar 2-4 Tablespoons milk 1 T vanilla extract 1/4 t. salt Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt and beat until well combined.Chocolate ganache drip: 12 oz (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips 12 oz (1 ½ cups) heavy whipping cream Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky.Additional Supplies/Equipment: - 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle (Insert any extra decorations/toppings here) - 1 8- or 9-inch cardboard cake circle - Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, bench scraper, and piping bag with a star tip - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful! - Reese's peanut butter cups (about 20, depending on how many you want to add on top) - Reese's Pieces candy (about 1 1/2 cups - I bought a large bag and used about half of it) - chocolate chips (I used Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips)Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting. Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers - if you've cut centers out of two of your cake layers, those will be your bottom two layers. Fill the empty centers of your cakes with Reese's Pieces and chocolate chips, add a layer of frosting over the second cake layer, and put the final layer on top.Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like - a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer 😉 Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.Okay - ganache drip time! I used a semi-sweet chocolate ganache for this cake – I found a squeeze bottle worked the best for this ganache since it’s very runny until it sets, but I’ve used a piping bag for similar drips before. Make sure your cake is chilled - I think I probably left mine in the freezer for at least 10 minutes, and I've heard putting your cake in the freezer for 10-20 minutes is a good way to make sure your drip sets well. Slowly drizzle the ganache around the upper edge of the cake, pausing every inch or so to let more ganache run down the side of the cake. Return cake to the fridge to set the drips.To add the finishing touches to your cake, put the remainder of your peanut butter frosting into a piping bag, and alternate large swirls of frosting with halved peanut butter cups around the upper rim of the cake. Pile halved Reese's cups, Reese's pieces, and chocolate chips in the center - I piped small amounts of frosting between the Reese's cups to hold everything in place on the top of the cake. And that's it - you're done! Chill cake until ready to serve 🙂

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